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Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language period drama film based on the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. It was directed by Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi and Kangana Ranaut from a screenplay by K. V. Vijayendra Prasad and produced by Zee Studios, Kamal Jain, and Nishant Pitti. The film stars Ranaut in the title role.

Plot

The film begins with the birth of Manikarnika in the ghats of Varanasi in 1828. She is raised by Peshwa Bajirao II in Bithoor and her father, Moropant. A young blossoming Manu is spotted by Jhansi’s minister, Dixit-Ji, slaying a tiger. Impressed by her feat, he proposes marriage between her and the Maharaja of the Maratha ruled princely state of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao. The marriage is celebrated and attended by the Jhansi residents among whom a loud, spunky woman named Jhalkar Bai makes her way to the front along with her husband Puran Singh to take a peek at their new queen. Sadashiv Rao is seen plotting against the king with the British officers who have promised him a part of the estate when Jhansi is conquered by the Company. After the Maharaja's son is born, Sadashiv is briefly seen side-eyeing a maid carrying holy water to the naming ceremony of the newborn, implying that he is behind the poisoning that eventually kills Damodar Rao and leaves the Maharaja weak and on his deathbed. To have an heir for the succession of the Jhansi throne, the Maharaja decides to adopt a child. Much to Sadashiv's dismay, his son is not adopted and instead, Anand Rao, the son of a courtier, that happens to run to Lakshmi Bai is named the heir. His name is changed as Lakshmi Bai instinctively calls him Damodar Rao. Sadashiv revolts and refuses to bow down to the future queen regent Lakshmi Bai and is banished from Jhansi.